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Chapter 1

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PSYC 3140
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1 • Abnormal Psych Chapter 1: core concepts o Abnormal psych/psychopathology:  Fascinating yet controversial area of study for past 100 yrs o Core concepts:  Several concepts which remained the heart of the study of abnormal  Central top the field even with growing and changing knowledge  Questions of defining abnormal from normal, causes, treatments • SIX Core concepts: • 1.Importance of context in defining and understanding abnormality: o Context: important because of 3 reasons:  1. Circumstance surrounding behaviours is essential to defining normality • Someone dies in family: reaction normal or not  2. Context in which abnormality occurs can helps us understand and explain it • Psychological and biological losses of a baby(cause)  3. Affects from demographics • Boys vs. girls in emotional reactions, understanding, ages, • 2. Continuum b.w. normal and abnormal behaviours o Have to consider the continuum between normal and abnormal before defining ones behaviours in any way(even when context may suggest so)  EX: someone’s weight problem- how much does one need to lose before considered a disorder(10/20 lbs) o We all experience feelings; some more than other though o Continuum highlights a point of empathy for ppl who are perceived as freaks when not 2 o Does make a tough decision where to put a threshold and pinpoint for treatment too • 3. Cultural and Historical Relativism in defining and Classifying abnormality o Defs. Of abnormality changed dramatically over time  Ex: homosexuality defined as sickness till recently o Vary by cultural preference o Because of culture/history: can’t make absolute universal statements in behaviours • 4. The advantages and limitations of diagnosis o Clinicians and researcher need diagnostic categories to help study and treat mental illness and communicate with others  Ex: Many psychologist may not agree on illness diagnosis; o Must be based on: o Reliability :  consistency with which a diagnostic category is applied o Validity:  accuracy of a diagnostic category o Too much emphasis on classifying disorders can oversimplify the complex problems that hide our understanding of the full labels we place on them o Can be stigmatizing and demoralizing for patients o Self fulfilling prophecy can exacerbate the effects of labelling • 5. Principles of Multiple Causality o Mental disorder usually involve  precipitating(triggering) causes • Ex: may be due to a birth to some mother in PTSD  Predisposing(underlying) causes 3 • Ex: may be lying in childhood experiences of the past and biological likelihoods of depression o Many different theoretical perspectives exist giving explanations for behaviours/treatments  Today: each is important; combining seems to be most popular  Past: each is individual; reductionists-one theory only • 6. Connection between mind and body o Psych/biological perspectives on mental disorders are not necessarily distinct  Mind n body fully interconnected; not separate like dualists believed in  I.e.: emotions alter biological chemistry; hormonal changes may cause depression • The core concepts a view from the past o 6 concepts discusses how it solely based on ppl and ideas o Examples from Charlotte case:  Importance of context- origin of her symptoms(onset after childbirth)  Culture/history- 19 century used to blame depression in women due to intellectual activity  Limitations of the diagnosis- questionable validity and accuracy  Multiple causes-traumatic early life; post partum; psychological changes  Connection b.w. mind n body-diagnoser didn’t even consider them; limited reductionism o Today we would:  Same usage of defining, classifying, explaining, treating with combos of theories  Psychs will use importance of context & continuum in defining her behaviour,  Will use culture/history & advantages/limitations in classifying 4  Multiple causality & mind n body connection in explaining and treating • DefiningAbnormality o No universal definition of abnormal behaviour, mental illness, and psychopathology o Working defs are reasonable though o No universal one because of different limitations of theoretical perspectives • Commonly Used criteria for defining abnormality o HIDES criteria: o Help seeking, irrationality and dangerousness, Deviance, Emotional dis
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